Tories urged not to join with homophobes

By Ian Dunt

The Conservatives have been asked to clarify if they intend to join forces with a Polish party in the European parliament known for its homophobic remarks.

Liberal Democrat youth spokesperson Lynne Featherstone has written to shadow foreign secretary William Hague to clarify the matter.

“By joining with these people the Tories would be to lending credence to their abhorrent views,” she said.

The party in question is called the Polish Law and Justice party. The Tories are being pulled towards them after leaving their grouping in the European parliament – the centre-right European People’s party.

It was the culmination of a promise David Cameron made while running to be party leader, but he must now form a grouping with at least six other parties to earn EU recognition and funding.

But Liberal Democrats and Labour warned the party could easily be thrown into the arms of non-mainstream parties, putting them on “the lunatic fringe” of European politics.

Senior politicians from the Law and Justice party have made homophobic statements, as well as describing Barack Obama’s election in the US as marking “the end of white man’s civilisation”, the Liberal Democrats said.

The full text of Lynne Featherstone’s letter is below:

Dear Mr Hague,

Following the Conservative party’s decision to withdraw from the EPP in the European parliament there has been much speculation about who you will choose to ally yourselves with following the elections in June. I am particularly concerned by reports that you may join with the Polish Law and Justice party. Members of this party have not only expressed vile and damaging opinions about homosexuality, they have also acted on these in government.

Its chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has called for homosexuals to be barred from teaching and recently told the Polish publication Ozon: ‘The affirmation of homosexuality will lead to the downfall of civilisation. We can’t agree to it.’
What is more, his twin brother Lech, the current president, banned gay pride parades during his time as Mayor of Warsaw, whilst allowing a ‘Parade of Normality’ to take place instead. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the former prime minister told the Polish edition of Newsweek that homosexuality is unnatural and threatened lesbians and gay men with ‘state intervention’ if they tried to ‘infect others with their homosexuality’.

One of the party’s senior MPs is also reported to have described the election of Barack Obama as marking the ‘end of white man’s civilisation’.

Are these really the sort of people you intend to ally yourself with? These appalling statements and actions have no part in mainstream political discourse and to join with these people in the European parliament would be to lend credence to their abhorrent views. I would be grateful if you could confirm whether you intend to form a partnership with the Law and Justice party.

Yours sincerely,

Lynne Featherstone MP